The bridge between mobile gaming and console gaming is closer than ever before, with numerous console games receiving high-profile mobile ports in recent years. It’s also going the other way now, with many mobile games making their way towards consoles after release. The latest of those titles to make its way to console is Skate City, a side-scrolling skateboarding game that tasks players with exploring locations across the world.
Originally released on Apple Arcade, Skate City recently made its way to consoles including the Nintendo Switch. Everything from the original mobile release is here, just on a bigger screen with controller support.
Much like the mobile release, players can skate in Los Angeles, Oslo, Barcelona and Miami. There are specific challenges to complete, as well as an endless mode which will continually generate a path ahead of the player.
Completing goals and scoring points will earn money. Money can be used to buy new levels, upgrade your character’s stats, purchase new tricks and unlock cosmetics. Essentially, the more you play Skate City, the more it opens up to you. Much like skateboarding in real life, you’ve got to put the practice in if you want to advance.
The control sticks inform the bulk of the movement and tricks in Skate City. The left analogue stick controls back-foot focussed tricks while the right stick controls front-foot based tricks. Press up on the left stick and you’ll ollie, press the same direction on the right stick and you’ll nollie. Each direction on either stick performs a different move.
L and R control play rotation. Press either one after doing an ollie or a trick and your character will pivot their body and the board. This allows players to perform 180°, 360° or even 720 °spins. The Zl and ZR button control manuals. Tap ZL before landing a trick and the character will perform a manual, tap ZR and they’ll perform a nose manual.
This arrangement of inputs essentially allows players to string together combos. It can take a little getting used to, but once I got the muscle memory locked in, I was able to string together some pretty impressive lines. Weaving my character in and out of flip tricks, grinds and manuals with the kind of finesse I could never hope to accomplish in real life.
In-game challenges range from scoring a certain amount of points to beating other players in a race. The real fun can be found in Skate City’s endless mode though. Spawning an infinite loop of any chosen level, endless mode just lets you skateboard. I found the genuine joy of skateboarding is in exploring a city or parks freely. Discovering lines and combos organically is at the crux of any skate session and endless mode does a fantastic job of replicating this.
Skate City’s laid-back aesthetic is complimented by a lo-fi electronic soundtrack that perfectly matches the game. It’s never overly pronounced, but instead takes a backseat to the action on screen, embellishing the on-screen action in a satisfying way.
A dynamic time-of-day and weather system makes each location feel real. The weather will change on a dime as you skate the streets of your chosen city. It’s a small touch that really goes a long way in improving immersion. The same can be said of the game’s time-of-day system, which will naturally shift as you move through the streets. Skate City is a simple, but impressive take on skateboarding. I’d like to see more content added further down the line, but I had a lot of fun with it.